A sold out Saturday night crowd converged on the Melbourne Town Hall’s magnificent Portico Room for an hour with New Zealand comic Guy Montgomery. A mid seventies version of The Hustle greeted the audience pre-show, and set the tempo for what would be a fast paced hour of stand-up.
Guy Montgomery has all the necessary skills for his chosen profession. He is affable, has a delightful turn of phrase, and great energy. He moves his show along at a cracking pace, making sure he’s bringing his audience along with him for the ride.
He’s also a man of his word. At the risk of needing a spoiler alert, the title of the show turns out to be entirely correct. He starts by reverently placing his phone to one side, and manages not to refer to it for the next hour. He helps the audience to match his heroics via the use of a large analogue clock, which he brings on to allay any need to reach for one’s phone. And this leads him neatly into a discussion on technological addiction, then into the rest of his set.
I was a little disappointed by his choice of material. After some initial stuff on fridge contents and grocery shopping, the show shifted to reflections on his career in comedy thus far. His experiences on the MICF Comedy Road Show, and in trying his luck in the New York comedy scene provided him with a rich source of material – but I found that the particular anecdotes he chose to share from those situations were a bit passé. Smile-worthy, yes. Chortle-worthy, sometimes. But I felt the routine lacked the big laugh lines which should have resulted from his impressive story telling capacities. Fortunately, his genial demeanour kept the audience well and truly on his side.
There are some powerful messages underpinning this routine about loneliness, and the need for connection in times of failure. Montgomery explores these with a charming self deprecation and candour.
I’m sure this set will appeal to many, and many will relate to his keen observations. I will certainly look forward to seeing what he brings to future festivals.
The 32nd Melbourne International Comedy Festival has been officially
Launched for 2018. Hosted by comedy legends Lano & Woodley, their reunion this year, after 12 years apart, in their new show Fly is one of the big thrills causing quite a buzz in a gigantic, exciting programme. There are more than 620 shows in this years festival. Some of the shows are encore performances and others that we Squirrels managed to catch and review at other festivals.
Feel free to click on the links below and read what we thought of these earlier iterations, keeping in mind that festival shows are ever evolving beasts that change and develop over time, so the new version may be quite different to one we saw.
See a favourite off the telly, See someone you’ve never heard of. Most of all have a wonderful time and keep an eye on Squirrel Comedy as the new reviews roll in and we keep you up to date on what’s happening via our Social Media.
After being nominated for Best Newcomer at last year’s MICF, Guy Montgomery is back with his likeable, boisterous style of stand-up in Let’s All Get In A Room Together. It’s a delightfully silly, crowd-pleasing hour from a confident performer.
Montgomery is at his best when he’s riffing in between his longer chunks of storytelling. His patter up top about the room, his fancy water and the joys of the Yarra River was hilarious and grabbed the attention of the audience early. There’s no particular theme to Let’s All Get In A Room Together. Montgomery discusses a whole range of topics, from his accommodation situation here in Melbourne to his sexual awakening as a young boy in New Zealand. It’s all delivered with a level of enthusiasm and energy that’s utterly contagious. Montgomery had the sold-out room chuckling the whole way through.
There were a few minor bumps in what was otherwise a very strong show. Some of the stories in Let’s All Get In A Room Together strike an odd tone – they’ve got enough weird details to be unbelievable but don’t push that weirdness hard enough to be completely surreal. Another discordant note came about three quarters of the way through the show, when Montgomery told a joke that neatly tied up all the threads he had discussed so far. It felt like a natural ending point, so when the show continued on it felt overly long, despite the material in the final minutes being of quite a high quality.
Let’s All Get In A Room Together is thoroughly entertaining and Guy Montgomery is a stand-up with a lot of promise. Pacing quibbles aside, Montgomery has got buckets of charisma and will no doubt get bigger and better in coming years.
Snort are a bunch of up-and-coming New Zealand comedians, banding together to do some great longform improv. With a rotating cast of performers and guest monologists every night, no two shows will be the same. I caught a performance where the cast included Rose Matafeo, Guy Montgomery, Donna Brookbanks, Alice Snedden, Tom Sainsbury and Brynley Stent.
With Friends runs the Armando improv format. One person will deliver a monologue prompted by a word provided by the audience, and then the team will perform scenes based on that monologue. On the evening I attended, there was a monologue from Snort member Alice Snedden, as well as from special guests Aaron Chen and Tom Walker. The best part of the stories is seeing how each performer interprets their prompt. “Kookaburra” led to a story about cricket gear, “pickle” to an in-depth description of a meal you can buy in Marrickville, and “abyss” to some bad wrestling gimmicks.
The Snort crew have a great rapport and play fast and loose with the format. Some of the best moments in the night came from scenes left to run a bit too long, confusing interactions and cast members throwing each other under the bus in general. This is clearly a group that is comfortable enough playing together that they know they can test each other’s limits. Stent was a standout as a maid/pickle saleswoman/camel saleswoman with an unplaceable broad accent. Sainsbury and Brookbanks were fantastic as a couple on the run after having a Christmas that was a little too “edgy”. Snort have hit a sweet spot with their improv – silly but not out-of-control, unpredictable yet skilful.
Snort With Friends is a wonderful hour of late-night mayhem and is a must-see for improv fans.
On Monday morning at the Spiegeltent the Nominees for the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Awards were Announced with the aid of Guest Barry Humphries. You may have heard of him, The Barry Award is named after him.
Congratulations to all the phenomenal Nominees!
The Golden Gibbo
Asher Treleaven & Gypsy Wood – Peter & Bambi Heaven – The Magic Inside
Luis Brown – Lessons With Luis
Tommy Dassallo – Little Golden Dassallo
Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning
Demi Lardner – Life Mechanic
Guy Montgomery (NZ) – Guy Montcomedy
Tom Walker – Beep Boop
Rose Matafeo (NZ) – Finally Dead
The Barry Award
Zoe Coombs Marr – Dave Trigger Warning
Damien Power – Sell Mum into Slavery
Luisa Omielan (UK) – Am I Right Ladies?!
Tom Ballard – The World Keeps Happening
Anne Edmonds That’s Eddotainment
David O’Doherty (IRE) – We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty
Rhys Nicholson – Bone Fide
There are more Awards that will be announced next weekend.
Also RAW Comedy Award for 2016 was won by Danielle Walker from Victoria